Where Does All That Snow Go?

Where Does All That Snow Go?

Where did all that snow go?

Snow removal requires us to physically remove the snow from roadways so they remain open and clear for safe travel. If there is no room to cast the snow, then it needs to be removed. During snow removal, a blower blows the snow into the back of a dump truck or tri-axel truck to be taken to a City-run snow disposal facility – also known as a snow dump. As part of the snow removal process, the small no parking signs are chewed up by our machines and spit out into the trucks. We do not remove the signs ahead of clearing because it is dangerous and time consuming for our teams to be working directly in front of the blades. Instead, we use materials that are safe for the environment and allow them to compost at the snow storage facility or to be cleaned up as part of our debris pick-up.

Teams of trucks line up waiting for their turn to be filled. Then they make their way to the nearest snow disposal facility to dump the snow before returning to accept another load of snow. A grader and sidewalk machine follows behind the snow removal team to ensure that the roads and sidewalks are clear of that thin layer of snow left behind our snow blower.

The snow dumps only accept snow from our approved operations, or those from our provincial roadway partners. We have seven snow disposal facilities across the City. Each facility is carefully managed to ensure the safety of the truck operators who come in to drop their loads of snow, and to ensure residents cannot access the sites.

Residents may think a snow disposal facility would be a lot of fun to play in, but that’s not the case. The snow our trucks collect is heavy and icy. It contains all sorts of waste that may have been on the road when our blower went by – including garbage, sand and salt, grease and oil drippings from cars. Our snow is stored in a contained site so that when the snow does melt, it does not negatively impact the environment.

Did you Know?

Over the past five years, our snow disposal facilities have accepted on average, just over 1,614,629 cubic meters of snow each season. That’s like filling 645 Olympic size swimming pools each season! Last year, many of our facilities still had snow piles melting into August. Once the snow has completely melted, the sites are cleaned to remove debris and prepared for the next season’s snow deposits.

Resident Support

Snow removal is one of the most significant operations our teams undertake in winter. Residents can help make our efforts more efficient by:

  • Observing all posted snow removal signage and keeping their cars off the road
    • Failing to do so could result in a fine and / or tow
  • Stay back from our working equipment
    • Equipment is large, and the snow is blowing with a lot of force which could injure anyone standing too close
  • Ensure your waste bins and bags of garbage are placed in your driveway and not on snowbanks or in the sidewalk
    • This will allow our teams to work more efficiently.

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